Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2017 2018 2019 2020
Months
September
Previous Archive
News Items

News Archive

Is Al-Qaeda operating in South Africa?
2014-09-29

 
Our Department of Political Studies and Governance recently hosted a seminar with investigative journalist De Wet Potgieter – author of the book, ‘Black Widow White Widow’.During the seminar, Potgieter reflected on the research he has conducted for the book, revealing the unsettling presence of Al-Qaeda in South Africa.

The ‘White Widow’ in the book’s title refers to Samantha Lewthwaite, a British woman who was found in South Africa with a fraudulent passport. She was later linked to the Westgate shopping mall attack which took place in Nairobi, Kenya on 21 September 2013. In this mass shooting at least 67 people died and over 175 people were wounded. The Islamist group al-Shabaab – which is also linked to Al-Qaeda – claimed responsibility for the incident.

In contrast, the ‘Black Widow’ is the disclosed identity of an Afrikaans-speaking self-styled spy, who after being widowed became a counter-terrorist operative.

Potgieter’s book divulges details of Al-Qaeda paramilitary and urban warfare training on a secluded farm in the Little Karoo and reveals details of the support they receive from various local extremist groups. Potgieter’s investigation spans across two years and suggests possible future attacks from, or on, South African soil.

“South Africa plays a role in the bigger picture for Al-Qaeda Islamic terrorism,” Potgieter said. “For instance, the Navy Seal team who killed Bin Laden found reports pointing to active Al-Qaeda/Islamist presence in South Africa. South Africans need to know we are under siege by a small, well-trained Al Qaeda terrorist cell. Yet, operations – of which I know, but cannot disclose much – are also underway to contain these matters,” Potgieter added.

Potgieter’s sources suggest that Al-Qaeda has been active in South Africa since the 2010 FIFA World Cup already. The South African government seems to turn a blind eye, though, despite CIA and MI6 requests and enquiries on the matter.


We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept